A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 092

Take up thy bike and walk

As Farmington is dragged struggling into civilization by a determined administration, scarce a month goes by without the appearance of some new vital ordinance to whip the population into shape. Sometimes there is resistance, like when citizens told lawmakers that peacocks should remain in downtown, causing that particular rule to bite the dust.

But such happenings are rare - few proposals suffer reversal, with most going through after debate, or simply tiptoeing by without attracting public attention. (The sign ordinance for example.)

Now, just coming over the horizon is an interesting piece of proposed legislation still in the rough draft phase entitled Registration and Operation of Bicycles. It was unveiled at a recent Business Association meeting by new police chief, Barry Carr, and greeted with approval, as it attempts to deal with the nuisance caused by bikes whooshing down the sidewalks. The ordinance is also designed to help police trace stolen bicycles and contains deterrents for those in breach of the code of rules.

This column wholeheartedly supports the get-tough policy, and is happy to note that not just every cyclist in Farmington, but every cyclist in America will be affected! Yessir, we'll show 'em who can pedal through town, and who can't.

The rough draft opens with these lines: It shall be unlawful to ride or operate any bicycle upon any way within the Town of Farmington without first having registered same with the Farmington Police Department. The bicycle must have a sticker for which a fee and expiration date will be established.

Imagine, if you will, this probable future scene, on Ten Rod Road at the Rochester/Farmington line: A touring cyclist, laden down with tent, bulging panniers, water, glucose and other bric-a-brac is pedaling westwards, obliviously happy. Suddenly, out jumps Brownie from a thicket, and blocks his path.

Sgt. Brown: Is that bicycle registered with the Town of Farmington?

Tourist: What do you mean? I am on the Great Eastern Bicycle Route that runs from Florida to the Canadian border. Look, this map shows that the path runs along Ten Rod to Meetinghouse Hill and onto Route 153 right through the middle Farmington.

Sgt. Brown: Not under our new ordinance it don't. Not without a sticker.

Tourist: But I have already completed 2,000 miles of my journey!

Sgt. Brown: Orders are orders. Pedal over that line and your bike will be impounded for up to 30 days. Look, Penalty C on this ordinance.

Bewildered, the cyclist sets up his tent on the Rochester side of the line with the intention of slipping through Farmington under cover of darkness. However, some hours later Brownie is relieved from his observation post in the bushes by John Fitch, equipped with night vision binoculars.

From within the cyclistís tent comes the faint but unmistakable sound of sobbing.

Library regulations

In keeping with the local law and order drive, Ruth Gagnon announced regulations for the school library computer which include a) booking time at least one day in advance, b) using it for only one period per day, and c) having no more than two persons per time at the terminal.

Gardening news

I spoke the other day with former gardener of the month Mr. Bubber Haycock who informed me that an imminent addition to his previously reported land reclamation scheme will be a flagpole.

"What are you going to fly - the skull and crossbones?" I asked, mindful of the Boys.

"No, the hammer and sickle," said Bubber, flashing a grin.

Flagpole regulations

To take some of the weight off the Planning Board, Police Department and Selectmen, all busy people, and in full realization that something must be done to curb a rash of unlegislated flagpoles, I am respectfully preparing a rough draft for a future ordinance. Examples of what is contained therein follows:

Flagpoles shall be constructed of robust approved materials.

Flags shall not depict skulls, crossbones, hammers, sickles, unregistered bicycles, peacocks or similar inflammatory objects.

Flags may not twinkle, blink or do anything other than flap and/or flutter.

Flags shall be flown on local and national holidays, on days when new local ordinances come into effect, and on the rare occasion when town water tastes half decent.

Woman's Club news

A stunning turnout of over 40 ladies was recorded at a recent meeting in the Goodwin Library to see a fascinating program on loons. I would like to thank the Womans' Club for a donation of $200, the proceeds from their poker games (or is it bridge?), which has gone towards the cost of two theatrical follow spotlights for the town hall stage. Most of the $1,800 cost of these state-of-the-art lights has been raised from unusually well-attended teenage dances during the fall. Now, benefiting from this equipment will be junior high and high school drama groups, the Variety Show, the Dance Review, Farmington Town Players, Davidsonís Christmas Show and perhaps the Clemantines.

Farmington Womans' club, incidentally, also donated $100 to art projects in each of the three schools.

Mudding news

The very antithesis of the Woman's Club is surely Farmington Mudders, and thanks to recent downpours, this fine group has also been very active in what must be the only great unlegislated province left. Yup, mud is the last frontier. Individual mudders particularly worthy of mention for deeds of derring-do, chiefly beneath the Ten Rod Road power lines, include Mike White, Jeff Smith, who recently sat in water up to his steering wheel, Red and Crowbar Tufts, Inventor Varney, Dino and Danny Tapper, Ken Dion and his Smoking Clutch, Gabe Tarrants and Richie Page.

Mudder of the Week, though, is none of the above but Donny Foley in his $16,000 full-size Chevy truck. Donny got stuck in a mud hole so deep that five other trucks and a portable winch were needed to haul him clear.

Advice to the public: Do not do as I did and absentmindedly pick globules of caked-on mud from a mudder's parked vehicle. Better that you tug the medals from Ollie North's uniform.

Halloween happenings

The Fire Department building is the scene of a shindig on either Friday or Saturday Ė a nocturnal shuffling of the letters on their non-conforming sign has resulted in a temporarily withdrawal of the alphabet and a dubiety on dates. This follows nocturnal shuffling of the letters (a post-mudding festivity). I confess to being tempted myself, seeing as Halloween Dance only needed three more letters to read Challenged Neon Law.

Oct. 27, 1987

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